The objective of this project is to collect and develop pedagogically sound, inexpensive, teaching tools for the undergraduate Neuroscience laboratory, that can be used by a wide variety of institutions including those that have limitations on funds for laboratory equipment. This collection, "The Neuron Connection", contains tested labs that span the breadth of the discipline. It is a collection for the 21st century that is in digital format and includes digital videos, which show lab set-up and technical tips. The digital format allows continuity of access, and materials that can be modified according to the needs of each institution. The audience for this manual is instructors at 2 and 4-year colleges and their students
This first phase develops an initial series (at least three) of laboratory exercises. These could be in the form of any of the following: Simulations or animations of "classical" experiments where students are referred to the original literature to make predictions of what should happen. Laboratories that require little or no equipment. Equipment based laboratory exercises that could include instructions on how to make commercially expensive equipment (such as amplifiers) on a relatively low budget.
These materials will be distributed in a form that is compatible with National Science Digital Library (NSDL).
An Advisory Board is responsible for assessing the direction and implementation of the goals outlined in the grant application. This assessment involves one formative evaluation and two summative evaluations of the project's progress in selecting appropriate laboratory exercises, developing prototype simulations, and delivering at least three working examples of hands-on laboratory exercises accessible to a wide range of college and university environments.
The authors are from 3 different academic institutions and represent both the biological and psychological sub fields of neuroscience. They will draw advice and ideas through their connections with other faculty-teaching undergraduate Neuroscience.